The Ennis Public Theatre kicked off the last show of the season with an appreciative crowd, a night ranging from laughter to tears and a behind the scenes look into the life of a dog.
“Sylvia,” the romantic comedy written by A. R. Gurney, deals with the lives of a middle aged Manhattan man searching for something missing in his life and his wife who enjoys her freedom and career too much to let a dog ruin things for her.
Edd Spradling, who plays the character of Greg, is having a hard time adjusting when his career changes directions and falls in love with “Sylvia,” a dog he finds at the park.
His character comes to life spending time with Sylvia and he experiences a side of the city he hadn’t seen before. He begins to fill the void he feels in his life with his new found friend, much to his wife’s chagrin.
Spradling is genuine and precise in his portrayal of Greg, which helps round out his character and makes the audience connect with him, instead of turning the character into the stereotypical pet lover.
He has a smooth and steady type of approach that leaves the audience with no doubt as to why he was cast for this part.
Spradling has appeared at the Waxahachie Community Theatre and is a member of a comedy group called the Swamp Bottom Boys. This marks Spradling’s fourth appearance with Ennis Public Theatre.
Vicky Williams plays the role of the long suffering but snippy Kate who tries in vain to drive a wedge between her husband and Sylvia, only to discover that in the end, she begrudgingly likes the dog too. It takes a long time for her to finally come to terms with that and the audience is taken along for the ride while she works out her feelings of loathing and resentment. Her delivery was exceptional and her ability to keep it together despite laughing at her fellow cast-mates is commendable.
Williams in an Ennis native making her acting debut at the Ennis Public Theatre. She is an accomplished musician and aspires to be a singer/songwriter. She recently played at the Wildflower Arts Festival in Dallas and the Crossroads Music Showcase.
Matt Ludwig, despite not being a main character is the definitive scene stealer. His portrayal of Tom, Phyllis and Leslie is handled with styles as different as the characters themselves. He shows his versatility and ability to roll with the flow of a scene while leaving the audience holding their sides in laughter and wondering where the costume director found high heels in his size.
Producer Bill Rhoten reminds us once again of his endless talent in choosing actors for his productions and bringing out the best in them to leave the audience glad they came.
Ludwig makes his third appearance at the theatre with this production and plans to pursue a career in theatre or music.
The main character of the show, Taylor Bunn, is no stranger to the Ennis stage having performed in the “Barefoot in the Park” production earlier this year. Her level of skill and energy she puts into every character she plays continues to win the audience over, again and again.
Her portrayal of Sylvia is not a part that others would find great success with but she absolutely shines. She plays the part of the wedge between Greg and Kate so well that at times, the audience might be inclined to forget that her character is a dog and not the other woman. Many actors do not like to share the stage with animals but actually being the animal is something Bunn pulls off with flair. Her perky attitude lends itself well to making Sylvia a pooch that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
The production of “Sylvia” will run through June 30 with a matinee performance on June 24. Regular attendees to the matinee performance should note that this production is not the last day of the show as in the past. Curtain time for the production is 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on June 24.
For more information regarding the show or to purchase tickets, contact the theatre at (972) 878-7529 or visit the Web site at www.ennispublictheater.com
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